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Full text of "Texts and margins of the revised New Testament : affecting theological doctrine briefly reviewed"

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TEXTS AND' MARGINS 



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REVISED NEW TESTAMp^T f,/|AriH>ll;22 



AFFECTING 



THEOLOGICAL DOCTRINE 



BRIEFLY REVIEWED. 



By/ 

G. VANCE "^MITH, B.A , 

■J'HROL. ^ PHILOS. DOCT. 



LONDON : 
37, NORFOLK STREET, STRAND, W.C 

1881. 



Note. — The British and Foreign Unitarian Association, in 
accordance with its First Rule, gives publicity to works calcu- 
lated " to promote Unitarian Christianity by the difiusion of 
Biblical, theological and literary knowledge, on topics connected 
with it," but does not hold itself responsible for every statement, 
opinion or expression of the writers. 



C O N T E N T S. 



I'AGE. 

Introductov}- i. — iv. 

§ I. ' Holy Ghost '—Holy Spirit 7 

§ 2. The name ' Immanuer 9 

§ 3. ' Son of God '—Messiah 

§ 4. ' the hell of fire ' — Gehenna — Hades 10 

§ 5. ' the evil (7;/(? ' — The belief in Satan 12 

§ 6. ' all authority is given unto me.' 'Master' — Teacher. . 14 
§ 7. ' into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 

Holy Ghost' 15 

§ 8. ' only begotten Son.' — ' only begotten God.' — John i. 18 — 

Doctrine of the Logos, its non-Christian origin. . . 17 

§ 9. ' the only God.' — John v. 44 22 

§ 10. ' Before Abraham was, I am.' — John viii. 58 24 

§ II. 'the Church of God, which he purchased with his own 

blood.' — Acts XX. 28 2G 

§ 12. 'a propitiation, through faith, by his blood.'— Rom. iii. 25 27 

§ 13. ' the reconciliation ' — Atonement — ' for Christ's sake ' . . 30 

§14. ' who is over all, God blessed for ever.' Rom. ix. 5 • . 32 

§ 15. * in the form of God' 35 

§ 16. * He who was manifested in the flesh.' i Tim. iii. 16 . . 39 
§ 17. ' our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ." Tit. ii. 13; . 

2 Pet. i. I 39 

§ 18. The three witnesses, i John v. 7, 8. — i John v. 20. . . 44 

Conclusion — doctrinal results of the Revision .... 45 

Appendix. 

Note A. Winer on Rom. ix. s 49 

— B. Winer on Tit. ii. 13 49 

— C. The Guardian Newspajier on the same 50 



INTRODUCTORY 



The varied criticism to which the revised New Testament 
has been subjected has gone far to estabHsh a concUision of 
considerable importance, — one, too, which has been widely 
accepted even by persons of the most different theological 
opinions. It has led to a very general recognition of the 
substantial accuracy of the new text, regarded as the repre- 
sentative of the Greek original. A few instances may no 
doubt be pointed out in which this statement is open to 
question ; but on the whole, notwithstanding various 
inconsistencies of rendering, and some faulty deviations 
from usual English idiom, it is acknowledged that the work 
of revision has been well done, and that it places before the 
modern reader the oldest original text which is now accessi- 
ble to us more fully and literally than is done by the 
Authorised Version. 

This result was to be anticipated. The revisers, as a 
body, were men of competent learning, and well acquainted 
with their subject ; nor can they have had any motive in 
their work but to render their original faitlifully to the best 
of their own understanding. This will probably be allowed 
by every reader of the corrected version who is at all 
competent to form an opinion on such a question. 

At the same time it may be well to remember that even a 
body of such men was not infallible. Nor is there any thing 
improbable in the supposition that they may have been 
influenced by the bias of their own theological opinions. 
It was at least natural, perhaps it was inevitable, that they 



O INTRODL'CrORV. 

should have been so. Whetlicr tb.ere be any traces of this; 
in their work, we need not at present stop to inquire. The 
reader will no doubt be able to make his own inferences on 
the point, as he proceeds with the following pages. 

At all events, it will be seen that the changes which have 
been introduced in the revised version have, in several 
conspicuous instances, an important bearing ui)on theological 
doctrine, as usually derived from the New Testament. It is 
the design of the present Tract to point out some of these 
instances, and to offer a few remarks in elucidation of their 
theological import. 1 need not add that I wish to say what 
I have to say Avith every regard to literary fidelity, and with 
the desire to present each case honestly and truly, as it is, 
so far as I can myself appreciate its character. Without 
/^ias, I suppose I must not claim to be ; but I will at least 
endeavour not to allow my own private opinions to influence 
me unduly; and it will always remain with the reader to- 
judge for himself whether or not I have succeeded in giving 
a fairly true and impartial account of what I have undertaken 
here to discuss. 

It will be convenient in what follows to take the passages 
to be noticed, with one or two exceptions, in the order in 
which they occur in the New Testament books. And it 
will be understood that it is only certain passages of promi- 
nent theological interest that it is proposed to notice. 



TEXTS AND MARGINS. 



^ I. Matt. i. i8: 'Holy Ghost;' margin, 'Or, Holy 
Spirit ; and so througliout this book.' — This margin is an 
acknowledgment by the revisers, repeated in several books, 
to the effect that the original term, rendered 'Ghost,' is the 
sameysox^^ which is also rendered 'Spirit.' Such is the 
case in every instance, without exception."^ It requires 
no argument to show that one and the same rendering of the 
one original word ought to have been adopted throughout. 
So obvious a neglect of uniformity in so important a case is 
the more remarkable, because the revisers, as a rule, have 
been careful, and profess to be careful, to render the same 
original word by the same P^nglish, so far as possible — as for 
example in the insignificant case of ' straightway,' many 
times in the second Gospel. Why then have they not been 
equally particular in the greater case of Holy Spirit, — one of 
real interest and importance.! 

* In several X. T. books the Avoids Holy Ghost — or Spirit — do not 
occur at all. In John, the rendering ' Ghost ' has been retained once 
only, viz , in xx. 23. 

t One of the revisers has given us a reason which, I must say, too 
clearly suggests the influence under which the rendering Holy Ghost 
was retained. He observes, ' England would have risen up and pro- 
tested against the loss of that most holy name.' And yet 'that most 
holy name ' does not ocair in the original Scripture, as a word distinct 
from that which is rendered Spirit ! —See Rev. W. G. Humphry's 
Tract, 'A Word on the Revised \'ersion,' published for the Christian 
Knowledge Society. 

B2 



8 HOLY SPIRIT. 

In some instances, again, the Revision has not only 
retained the old expression, but has gone so far as to alter 
the pronouns, so as to impart a more distinctly personal 
character to the rendering — as in Rom. viii. i6, ' the Spirit 
himself,' instead of the Authorised 'itself,' which exactly 
represents the Greek; so in Ephes. iv. 30, which is a similar 
case. In these places, no doubt it may be urged, a personal 
meaning is expressed in the context ; but then is it not 
simply a figurative personality, of exactly the same kind as 
that attributed to other objects of thought, as, for example, 
to Charity (love) in i Cor. xiii. 4, 5. (Here, it must not 
be overlooked, the Revision has altered the personal pronoun, 
in the opposite sense, so as to fake away the personal 
meaning, and injure the Apostle's metaphor.) But indeed, 
as probably all will admit, the expression Holy Spirit 
denotes the Divine Being himself, especially in His felt in- 
fluence upon the mind of man. Hence, it is easy to under- 
stand, the Spirit may quite intelligibly be spoken of under the 
personal conception of it, while yet it is unnecessary to go 
to the length of the popular Creeds and attribute to it a real 
or separate personality of its own, making it in effect a 
distinct and separate God — as in the Athanasian Creed. 
Of this extreme perversion of the idea there is no example 
within the pages of the New Testament. Accordingly there 
is nowhere in the Bible to be found any instance of prayer 
being offered to it, or any ascription of praise or adora- 
tion, as there so often is in the case of the Almighty Father. 

It ought not to be forgotten that the American revisers 
(List of Readings, No. III.) express their desire that 
instead of ' Holy Gho.st,' the rendering 'Holy Spirit' should 
be uniformly adopted. In this they have shewn them- 
selves more faithful to the original than the English 
Company: inasmuch as the New Testament has everywhere 
been contented to express the idea intended by a single 
word ; while also the deep and comprehensive word Spirit is 



I.M.MAN- L'KL — SON OF GOD. 9 

greatly superior as a rendering to its [)oor and almost 
obsolete equivalent.* 

^ 2. Matt. i. 23 : ' they shall call his name Immanuel ; 
which is, being interpreted, God with us.' — A more careful 
and impartial regard to the usage of the Greek language (as 
of the Hebrew also) would have rendered these words 
differently. In both languages, in simple sentences like 
this, the verb of existence is constantly unexpressed, 
although it is to be understood. Remembering this fact we 
should render, *God is with us;' and the implication is, that, 
in the child to be born, the promised Christ, God will be 
with his people to protect and save them. As the words 
stand, they seem to represent the coming child as God. 
This cannot possibly be held to be the Evangelist's intention, 
when all the circumstances of the context are taken into the 
account. Simple faithfulness, therefore, to his thought 
requires a further revision of this expression, or at the least, 
an acknowledgment in the margin of the alternative render- 
ing. — See similar instances, Isaiah viii. lo; Jerem. xxiii. 6, 
xxxiii. i6; Ezek. xlviii. 3^. 

>^ 3. ]\Iatt. iv. 3: 'SonofGod.' The old rendering remains, 
and could not of course be changed. But, in the mouth of 
the devil, who is here the speaker, the words could only 
si,!^fii/y 'the Messiah:" — -'If thou art the Messiah.' In the 
synoptical Gospels, as elsewhere, the Messiah is a Son of 
God. He is also pre-eminently ' the Son of God ' — a 
phrase by which the protection and love of God for his 
chosen servant arc especially denoted.! It does not, how- 

* This is seen in tlie fact that the word ' Ghost ' cannot be used by 
itself, as the original often is, nor with any adjective except one. 

t Compare Mark i. i, which literally runs, 'the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ, Son of God.' The latter words (equivalent, as just said, 
to Messiah) are critically uncertain, and are omitted by Tischendorf. 



lO HELL OF FIRE. 

ever, appear from these three Gospels that any metaphysical 
meaning was attached to the words. The only instance in 
which the contrary might be alleged is in Luke i. 35. Here 
the child to be born is said to be ' Son of God,' because 
it is born through the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit. 
This reason for the epithet is nowhere else given ; nor 
indeed is the miraculous birth anywhere else alluded to in 
the New Testament, except at the commencement of the 
first and third Gos])els. In these Gospels, therefore, as in 
Mark, 'Son of God' may always be regarded as simply a 
designation, in Hebraistic phrase, of the Messiah.* This 
remark does not apply to the fourth Gosi)el, in which the 
metaphysical or Logos conception is introduced, as shall be 
briefly noticed in its proper place. 

§ 4. Matt. V. 22 : ' shall be in danger of the hell of fire ;' 
— margin 'Gehenna of fire.' Most probably the words 'of 
fire ' are a Hebraism, after the manner of ' judge of 
unrighteousness,' rendered 'unrighteous judge,' Luke xviii. 6. 
Hence the meaning is, the fiery or burning Gehenna. This 
last word was the proper name of a locality near Jerusalem. 
In the eyes of the Jews it was a place of abominations, on 
account of the idolatrous rites there practiced in ancient 
times. It had therefore been subjected to defilement in 
various ways, and became in later times the receptacle of 
refuse and filth from the city. To consume the mass, fires 
were kept burning, and the valley was accordingly a place of 
fin^ of perpetual fire, ever burning. Hence the phrase 
' Gehenna of fire.' This phrase, as given in the margin, 
ought clearly to have stood in the text. On what just 
principle is the proper name Gehenna rendered by the word 



* Compnre the exclamation of the centurion (Mark xv. 39), ' Truly 
this man was Son of God.' Surely he intended this not in the Nicene 
sense, but in the familiar Hebrew sense of Messiah, in which he may 
often have heard it used. 



G I:H KX X A — H A DES. I I 

' hell ?' It cannot be shewn that the fearful ideas connected 
with the latter in our times were associated with Gehenna in 
the time of Christ. The rich man in the parable in 
Luke xvi. is not in Gehenna. He is in ' Hades ' (v. 23), 
and this parable, it is needless to say, is not a representation 
of real scenes, but simply a thing of the imagination, 
•designed to embody the great fact of moral retribution. It 
is true, however, that the name Gehenna had come to be 
used in New Testament times as a representative word, 
denoting the place into which the ungodly were to be cast 
at the coming of the Messiah, there to be burnt up and 
destroyed. The whole conception belongs nevertheless to 
the domain of mythology rather than to that of rational 
theology. It embodies for our time the idea of retribution 
for sin simply, and hence it is altogether gratuitous and 
inadmissible to insist upon the details of the expression as 
representing the actual physical character of the future 
scenes of woe. It is one of the gravest faults of our 
systematising theologians and preachers * to persist, as they 
do, in keeping up ideas of hell, with its devils, and its ever- 
lasting flames and torments, which have descended to us 
from the distant ignorant ages of patristic and mediaeval 
superstition. But apart from these considerations the revised 
rendering ' hell of fire ' is unjustifiable, not only on account 
of the word 'hell,' but also as suggesting other hells 
unknown to the New Testament, and because there is no 
reason in the nature of the case why the proper name Cxehenna 
(meaning, etymologically, valley of Hiimojii) should not have 
been rendered as a jiroper name. This change has been 
made in the case of the word Hades, though this too was 

* See. for example, the ^[ethodist Catechisms, and the allusions in 
various Hymn-books of the Congregationalists and other bodies. But 
the reader should not forget Canon Fariar's admirable volume ' Eternal 
Hope,' which may be set against certain publications of tlie Religious 
Tract Society, such as Baxter's Saint's Rest. 



12 THE EVir, ONK. 

represented as 'hell' by the revisers of i6ii~\vho, like all 
the theologians of their time, were eager believers in hell 
fire, in devils, and in witchcraft. Consistency required that 
the two proper names should be similarly treated, and they 
would no doubt have been so, but for long-established and 
invincible prepossessions. The reader should compare 
2 Kings xvi. 3, xxiii. 10, 13, 14, and also some parallel 
places in Chronicles and other Old Testament books. 

5^ 5. Matt. vi. 13: 'Deliver us from the evil a;^e.' The 
introduction of Satan into the Lord's Prayer, however 
unnecessary on exegetical grounds,"^ and however offensive 
to the devout feeling of very many readers, cannot be said 
to affect theological doctrine one way or other. The exist- 
ence of Satan is abundantly recognised elsewhere in the 
words of Christ, and it was no doubt admitted by him, as 
an element derived through his education from the popular 
belief of his day, as it is well known to have been received 
by his countrymen long before Christ was born. Those who 
think that the Christian of modern times should hold the 
same belief because He did so, should in consistency ask 
us to recognise the Jewish Sabbath, as well as the continued 
obligation of circumcision and of worship by sacrifices. 



* That the words rendered ' the evil one * might grammatically be 
neuter, and denote the abstract and impersonal 'evil,' is admitted on 
all sides and cannot be denied. The neuter form occurs in Luke vi. 
35, Rom. xii. g. The expression was familiar to Jewish readers of 
Greek — see i Mac. i. 15. The character of the prayer again, and the 
parallelisms of the context, (debts, temptation, trespasses,) evidently 
favour the non-personal meaning. But then the Greek Fathers take 
the M'ords in the personal sense, and this is the great reason for the 
revised rendering — a very insufficient reason, it must be said, when 
the credulous and superstitious character of these writers is taken into 
the account. It may be added that the * evil ' or ' evil one ' is not 
determined one way or the other by either the verb or the preposition 
here used with it — as some have supposed. 



THE BELIEF IN SATAN. I3 

There can he no reasonable doubt that these were equally 
accepted by Christ, in accordance with his own words, that 
he came not to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfil. 
He is also admitted by all to have been a man of ordinary 
Hebrew training — whatever else beyond this he may have 
been— and to have conformed, like other Hebrews of his 
time, to the laws and institutions of his people. 

But, while this is true, the better knowledge which has 
been given to our day renders it impossible to assent to the 
ancient belief in an all but omnipotent devil. This is 
surely one of the great points on which men are called 
upon to admit into their minds the clearer light which, by 
j)rovidential guiding, modern Science has given to the world. 
This should teach us that what we are accustomed to call 
the Evils of life and nature, mysterious and sorrowful as 
they often are, must, in the last resort, be ascribed to the 
Supreme Will itself, and are not to be attributed to the 
activity of a malignant Satan, the eternal enemy alike of 
(iod and man. 

It was clearly a mistake, therefore, so gratuitously to 
alter the words under notice, as if it were sought to diffuse 
and strengthen the belief in diabolical agency, by intro- 
ducing the acknowledgment of it into this prayer, otherwise 
so comprehensive and beautiful. It may be hoped, never- 
theless, that the increasing intelligence and good sense of 
Christian people will more and more disapprove and reject 
the doctrine in question, even when thus presented to them 
— a doctrine, as it is, the practical influence of which can 
be in no way favourable to the spiritual well-being of those 
who really hold it, but rather the contrary. 



1 4 AUJ HOKITY TEACHER. 

§ 6. Matt, xxviii. 1 8 : ' Jesus .... spake unto them 
saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and 
on earth.' — The change here from 'power' to autJwrity is 
significant. The reader should compare Matt. ix. 6, x. i, 
Mark ii. lo, iii. 15. The change has been made in some 
cases, but not in others, and with the misleading result, 
that Christ is represented as having /<97i''^7', the disciples as 
having 'authority.' The original word is the same every- 
where; as indeed is acknowledged by the margin. But 
why, it must be asked, was not this word, in itself unobjec- 
tionable, placed in the text? The original denotes a 
permitted or delegated power, something that it was lawful 
to exercise in accordance with some superior will. Such 
authority is attributed to Jesus in common with his dis- 
ciples, and the fact ought not to be disguised by placing 
the right and literal translation in the margin, the less right 
and less literal in the text, where it will be read, or heard 
read, by multitudes who will never hear or see the margin, 
or perhaps attend to it if they do. 

Similar remarks may be made respecting the familiar 
word ' Master ' which is so often applied to Jesus in all 
the Gospels, the alternative (and correct) rendering 
' Teacher ' being placed in the margin. See Matt. viii. 1 9, 
and numerous passages besides. To teach the people was 
evidently a chief function of the Messiah's office, as con- 
ceived by the Evangelists and probably by Jesus himself, 
Accordingly, he is frequently spoken of as engaged in this 
work, and is constantly called ' the teacher,' and addressed 
as 'Teacher.' The word Master on the contrary is not 
applied to him, except in the rare instance or two of the 
compound term rendered 'master of the house.' The pro- 
per Greek word for master, in the sense of power and 
ownership, Jesus never applies to himself* It is used of 

* The word so constantly rendered ' Lord ' might have been cor- 
rectly translated by ^Master, in this sense. 



INTO THK NAMK. 1 5 

him only in two instances, and by the late and unknown 
writers of 2 Peter and Jude. 

These focts are not without their interest, as indicating 
•the character under which Jesus and his work were regarded 
by the writers of the New Testament. A\'e know that he 
was familiarly spoken of by the peoi)le as 'the i)rophet Jesus 
from Nazareth,' see Matt. xxi. 1 1. Such facts ought not to 
have been concealed under the translation 'master,' to which 
it is probable that few ordinary English readers will attach 
the meaning of Teacher, even though the former word is 
familiar enough in certain compounds (as school-master) in 
the sense of teacher. 



§ 7. Matt, xxviii. 19: 'baptizing them into the name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.' — The 
word into here takes the place of 'in,' without any marginal 
note, and materially assists the interpretation. It denotes 
the transition experienced by the convert to Christianity 
from one form of belief and confession to another. A Jew 
or a Gentile, who was brought to recognise Jesus of Nazareth 
as the expected Christ, underwent the change referred to, 
from unbelief or denial to positive assent and discipleship. 
This ' conversion ' * the ' eleven disciples ' are told to mark 
and ratify by the ceremony of baptism — an ancient and 
familiar rite in those days. In i Cor. x. 2, Paul speaks 
figuratively of his people as having been ' baptized into 
Moses ' — an expression which the Revision for some reason 
has altered, by rendering ' unto ' instead of into. By this 
statement the Apostle evidently meant to signify that the 
people adopted and professed the religion given to them by 
Moses; in connection with which Moses held so conspicuous 
a place as leader and legislator. Receiving and following 



* Such is the usual import of the word 'convert,' and its cognates 
as used in the N. T. — though not in the [Methodist and other theo- 
logical vocabuhiries : see Acts xv. 3. 



1 6 THE BAPTISMAL FORMULA. 

him, the LsraeUtes were ' baptized into Moses.' Similarly 
with Christian converts — they received the religion in which 
God is so specially made known under the sacred name of 
'Father,' in which too the acknowledgment of 'the Son,* 
the Messiah, was an essential element— for a man could not 
be a Christian disciple without acknowledging Christ — and 
which again, according to the conception of the primitive 
age, was illustrated and confirmed to the disciple by the gift 
of 'the Holy Spirit' Of this last particular many examples 
occur in the Book of Acts: See ii. 4, iv. 31, and compare 
xix. 2, seq. 

The evangelist's words are usually regarded as an allusion 
to the doctrine of the Trinity. It would be very reasonable 
so to understand them, if that doctrine were anywhere else 
to be found distinctly taught, as a doctrine of the new reli- 
gion. But there is no instance in which it is so,'" and it is 
incredible that the Teacher, at the very moment of his 
departure from the earth, in the last words which he 
addressed to his disciples, should now suddenly speak to 
them in these terms of a mysterious doctrine, so inconsistent 
with their own ancient monotheistic faith, and for which he 
had not in any way prepared their minds. It cannot have 
been the intention of the evangelist to leave his readers with 
such an impression. For it is remarkable that all the four 
Gospels are equally destitute of traces of this great ecclesi- 
astical doctrine, which indeed is known historically to have 
been the growth of a long subsequent age. Of this state- 
ment the reader who will only take the trouble to examine 
the Gospels for himself will find abundant evidence — 
abundant evidence, that is to say, in the plain fact that the 
doctrine of the Trinity is nowhere in the Gospels to be seen,. 



* The only other text believed and probably intended to express the 
doctrine, i John v. 7, has been removed as spurious by the re\isers. 
See infra, § 18. 



ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD. 1 7 

either expressly stated or even obscurely alluded to. I'his 
is equally true of the rest of the New Testament."^ 



^ 8. John i. i8: 'No man hath seen God at anytime; 
the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father 
he hath declared ///;//.' Here, the margin informs us that 
' many very ancient authorities read God only begotte7i^' for 
' only begotten Son.' It maybe conjectured that a regard 
for euphony, or some even stronger motive, suggested the 
form of translation thus given in the margin. But, as in the 
original the adjective precedes the noun, the more exact 
rendering is ' an only begotten God ;' — just as we say in 
English a good ifian, not ' a man good.' 

An only begotten God ! — Such is the incongruous idea to 
which this margin would lead those who are able to close 
the eyes of their minds so far as to follow its guidance. It 
is almost a pity that the words were not taken into the text 
— a result from which, considering the state of the evidence, 
there could have been only a narrow escape.! Their inser 
tion in the English Bible might, however, have proved a 
greater blow than the popular or orthodox theology of our 
day would have been well able to bear ! 

A full discussion of this margin would be equivalent to a 
discussion of the Logos doctrine in which the expression 
has its origin, and for this, in the present connection, space 

* 2 Cor. xii. 12 has been appealed to as an expression of the three- 
fold personalit}'. But a reasonable interpretation of the words is 
inconsistent with such a conclusion. There is evidently a distinction 
made in the verse between God and the other subjects named : ' The 
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of GOD, and the com- 
munion (participation) of the Holy Spirit ;' the last clause, doubtless, 
here, as so often in the Acts, denoting those divine gifts of which the 
Christian might partake, as before noticed (§ i.) 

t The words have been adopted in the new Greek text edited by 
Messrs. Westcott and Hort. 



t8 DOCIRINE OF THE LOGOS OR WORD. 

is wanting. A few facts however belonging to the subject, 
must be given. 

The original adjective rendered 'only-begotten," in its 
simple or natural sense, denotes an only child, also one that 
is dearly beloved, as an only child. In this sense it is found 
in Luke three times, and it is applied also to Isaac. "^ 
Except in these cases, it occurs only in the fourth Gospel 
and the first Epistle of John, in reference to the Logos 
(John i. 14, 18), or in connection with Christ (John 
iii. 16, 18). In the later and metaphysical sense of 
the term it denoted the relation of the Logos to God ; in 
other words, it was expressive of the intimate and unique 
connection between the Logos as Son and the Divine Father. 
In this sense the word is found in the Nicene Creed: 'only 
begotten of the Father;' with which should be compared 
the words, 'God of [out of] Ciod;' 'begotten not made, 
being of one substance with the Father.' The word occurs, 
as just noted, four times in the Fourth Gospel, but whether 
intended in this sense exactly may be a question. If so, 
the fact is indicative of the Alexandrine origin of that 
Gospel, as well as of its late composition, as compared with 
the other three. 

The word God, in the reading ' only begotten God,' is 
rejected by Tischendorf, who adopts the common reading, 
giving at the same time an account of the evidence. AVhat 
appears to have weighed greatly with this eminent authority 
in so doing, is the fact of the increasing tendency, in the 
early centuries, to apply the epithet ' Ciod ' to Jesus 
personally, as being the Logos incarnate (John i. 14). This 
tendency attained its climax and natural result at the 
Nicene Council (a.d. 325) and in the famous Creed there 
formulated by men who, as everybody knows, were 
extremely little qualified for the work of creed-making for 



Luke vii. 12, viii. 42, ix. 38; Heb. xi. 17. 



SUSPICIOUS READINGS. I 9 

future generations. This was the same century in which 
the oldest existing manuscripts, Aleph and B, were written; 
and it may have been simply in accordance with the 
prevailing tendency of their time that the copiers of those 
manuscripts thought themselves justified in writing OUs, 
God, instead of vlos, Son. There is another instance of 
the same alteration to 9eos in Aleph, which is held to be 
the oldest of all the New Testament manuscripts. It occurs 
in Luke viii. 40, where the scribe has written ' they were all 
waiting for God,' instead of 'waiting for him.' This 
reading stands alone, and has been little noticed by the 
critics. There it is in Aleph nevertheless, and as it cannot 
have been accidental, it shows how ready the manuscript 
copiers were to follow the orthodox feeling of their day. 
The ancient Fathers who cite John i. 18, or allude to the 
expression, are greatly divided between the two readings, so 
that it is a matter of no slight difficulty to decide by their 
evidence which of the two has the preponderance of critical 
weight on its side. In all probability manuscripts were 
extant in the third and fourth centuries, perhaps earlier,"^ 
containing both readings; and it was natural that copiers 
should follow the one or the other, according as their 
theological zeal dictated. A similar cause would account 
for other instances in which the term ' God ' may have 
been surreptitiously introduced into the text — as shall be 
noticed under the proper heads. 

To speak of 'an only begotten God, who is in the bosom 
of the Father,' was altogether in keeping with the character 
of the fourth Gospel ; and therefore there is nothing at all 
unlikely in the supposition that this may be the true original 
reading of this verse. Let it be observed, however, that the 

* Dr. Scrivener has observed, *It is no less true to fact than 
paradoxical in sound, that the worst corruptions to which the N. T. has 
ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was 
composed.' — Introduction to N. T. Criticism, 2nd Ed., p. 452. 



20 ORIGIN OF THE LOGOS DOCTRINE 

conception of the A\'ord or Logos, introduced in the first 
verse of this Clospel, ivas not in its origin a Christian con- 
ception. It is found fully developed in Philo Judaeus, of 
Alexandria, who lived and died long before the composition 
of this (rospel. This eminent Jewish writer speaks 
repeatedly of the Logos, and says respecting it all that is 
said by the Evangelist, with much besides. Lie does not, 
however, say that it was 'made flesh' in Jesus — a statement 
which of course Philo, as a Jew and a non-believer, could 
not have made. 

Being then thus familiarly known in philosophy and 
literature long before Christ or the Christian Gospel was 
heard of, the conception of the Logos in its most general 
sense expressed and denoted the outward manifestations of 
the One, unseen, incomprehensible Deity, in the creation of 
the world, and in his communications with man. The 
conception was to the Greek or Hellenistic mind in some 
respects what that of the Holy Spirit was to a Jew — 
denoting, not indeed Jehovah himself, whose very name 
might not be uttered by human lips, but yet the same 
hidden and unapproachable Divine Spirit in his outward 
revelation of himself. A great authority. Dr. Liddon, has 
spoken of the Logos in terms which, in their own subtlety or 
obscurity, do not much elucidate the subject for his 
readers.* He calls it 'the Thought of God,' and expressly 
warns his readers not to conceive of it as ' an independent 
being, existing externally to the One God.' All the time, 
therefore, though constantly conceived and spoken of under 
the personal conception, as a being distinct from God and 
termed, even by Philo, a ' second God,' yet, nevertheless, it 
was simply the Infinite himself, or his Energy, acting upon 
the world according to the purposes of His own divine 

* ' The Logos is the Thought of God, not intermittent and precarious 
like human thought, but subsisting with the intensity of a personal 
form.'— Bampton Lectures, p. 228 (ed. 1868). 



IN PHILOSOPHICAL SPECULATION. 21 

thought. This Logos, then, according to later Christian 
writers, became flesh in Christ, which was probably, at first, 
much the same thing as saying that God, whom, in Himself, 
no man hath seen at any time, revealed Himself to the 
world in him that 'declared him.' God revealed in Christ, 
and through Christ, is a prominent idea of the New Testa- 
ment. But it does not follow that Jesus was personally 
God, or was intended to be so represented; any more than 
it follows that a Christian convert was conceived to be God, 
because the 'Holy Spirit' is said to have been given to him, 
or to have been in him. 

The most important thing to remember is that the 
doctrine of the AVord was not a product of Hebrew theology 
or of Christianity, but of Greek philosophy ; and so, if this 
doctrine be the most essential and characteristic element of 
the Christian revelation, as some would tell us, it follows 
that we are indebted for the ' heart and essence ' of the 
Gospel, not to Christ or the Apostles, but to Greek specula- 
tion. Except in the fourth Gospel, and in the kindred 
writing called the first Epistle of John, nothing is said in 
the New Testament about the Logos being incarnate in 
Jesus, although the same conception is very probably at the 
basis of the introductory verses of Colossians, Ephesians, 
and Hebrews — of the last in particular. It is nowhere, 
however, to be seen in the three Synoptics, which are with- 
out doubt the simplest and earliest historical records of the 
ministry of Christ now accessible to us. 

The same conception accounts for many expressions 
which are peculiar to the fourth Gospel. Its occurrence 
in this Gospel, elaborated as it is and accompanied with 
discourses and other matter evidently composed in accord- 
ance with the Logos idea, seems to afford the strongest 
reason for thinking that the Gospel cannot have come from 
the pen of an eye-witness of the life of Christ as 
that life is related in the other Gospels. It should 



2 2 THE ONLY TRUE GOD 

rather ho regarded as the composition of a writer whose 
mind was deeply imbued with the Logos ])hilosophy in its 
more advanced form ; and this writer, it would appear, 
•even felt himself at liberty to compose the discourses and 
prayers which he attributes to the subject of his narrative in 
accordance with, and in subordination to, the cliaracteristic 
conception of that philosophy. 

Many persons, especially those who are committed to the 
Nicene theology, will no doubt reject and resent this account 
of the subject. Some critics may be expected to report to 
their readers the conclusion just stated, and to denounce it 
as a species of profanity, without taking the trouble to give 
the reasons by which it is justified. It would be more to 
the purpose if such persons would examine what has just 
been said, and shew by reasonable evidence, if they can, 
that it is untenable ; especially if they would explain and 
account for the remarkable fact, which is undeniable, that 
the doctrine of the Word is so distinctly traceable, not to 
Christian sources, but to ancient Cxcntile philosophy. 

^ 9. John v. 44 : ' the glory that conietJi from the only 
God '■ — This stands instead of the Authorised ' from God 
nlone,' — which was an extraordinary mistranslation of the 
Greek. The words should be read in connection with 
John xvii. 3, which, slightly altered from the older form, 
runs thus : — ' This is life eternal, that they should know 
thee, the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, 
even Jesus Christ.' The two expressions, 'the only God,' 
' the only true God,' well shew^ that the writer of this (lospel 
(probably a Jewish Christian, of the Philo school of 
thought), although he had so entirely adopted the Logos 
i'onception, yet retained a firm hold of his ancient mono- 
theistic faith. It follows, that he could have no real 
intention of representing Jesus Christ as ( iod, equal to the 
Father, and consequendy no idea of the later Church 



REVEALED BY HIS LOCCS. 23 

doctrine of the 'I'rinity. The Father, in the Evangelist's 
view, was still ' the only God,' revealed, indeed, by His 
Logos conceived as coming forth from him in Jesus, and 
manifesting him to the world, but not regarded as making 
Jesus Christ identical with Him or His equal. In one 
instance, it is true, Jesus is represented as saying, ' I and 
"the Father are one ;' in which we have the conception 
virtually repeated that the Fogos was with God and was God 
- — as, according to Dr. Lid don's exposition, it was the very 
* Thought of Cxod ' itself But if so, we have elsewhere the 
'express words, also attributed to Jesus, ' the Father is 
greater than I ;' and again the words of the risen Jesus, ' I 
.ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and 
your God.' Such words shew us that the Evangelist could 
have had no real idea of an equality of persons, or of 
the man Jesus of Nazareth as being God upon earth 
•disguised in a human form, just as the Father was God in 
heaven, unseen and inaccessible to man, revealed only by 
an ' only begotten God,' who had ' come down from heaven,' 
and was conceived by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. 
Of conceptions so gross as these there is no trace in this 
fourth Gospel, which nowhere mentions the miraculous con- 
ception. Nevertheless it may be true, that the author's ideas 
went so far at times as to regard the Logos incarnate as 
an actual divine existence, distinct and separate from God. 
The natural development of the Logos idea, tended to this 
— although it may still be a question whether this Evangelist 
consistently held the doctrine in the dualistic sense of later 
times. Dr. Liddon observes of Philo that he speaks of the 
Logos sometimes as personal and sometimes as non-personal, 
sometimes as a ' second God ' and sometimes as merely a 
power or manifestation of God, in a way to ' convince any 
unprejudiced reader that Philo did not know his own mind.' 
This being the case, is it not probable that we have some- 
thing of the same kind of indecision in the fourth 



24 AX IMPORTANT ADMISSIOX. 

Evangelist? — that we have in him too something of the same 
ebb and flow of thought natural to a mind occupied with an 
obscure speculative subject such as this ? 

If such be the case, it will be useless to attempt further to 
harmonise apparently conflicting statements of this Evan- 
gelist. Still, one very important point should not be for- 
gotten. It is a point to which Dr. Liddon expressly invites 
attention, when he remarks of the Word that it was 7iot ' an 
independent being, existing externally to the one God ;' and 
Avhen he tells us that so to conceive if it 'would be an error 
at issue with the first truth of monotheism.' This admission 
is as weighty as it is just. But then it inevitably provokes 
the suggestion, that neither ought we to speak of the Word 'as 
an independent being,' possessed of a separate personal 
existence. And if it reminds us that we ought carefully to 
avoid thinking of the Word under this polytheistic character, 
does it not tell us with equal emphasis, that we must not 
invoke it in prayers and hymns exactly as if it were ' an inde- 
pendent being existing externally to the One God ? But 
nevertheless, is not this exactly what is done by that great 
national Church of which Dr. Liddon is so conspicuous a 
member ?. * 



^ lo. John viii., 58: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
Before Abraham was, I am.' — The translation here remains 
as it was, with the margin on the word ' was,' ' Gr. was bom.' 
There are excellent reasons for holding that the rendering 
accepted by the Revision gives an inadequate expression of 
the sense intended by the Evangelist. 

The phrase ' I am ' as here used, occurs repeatedly in the 
sense ' I am //^,' that is, I am the Messiah. Thus to the 
woman of Samaria, Jesus declares, ' I that speak unto thee 



* See the Anglican Prayer Book, and also H)mns Ancient and 
Modern, passim. 



BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, 1 AM. 25 

am,"' tliat is (as the context shows), ' I am Jie^ tlic Christ. 
So in John viii. 24, 28, xiii. 19. In such expressions the 
speaker asserts his Messiahship, and this is recognised in 
these instances by the revisers, who have retained, in each, 
the interpreting word //^, to complete the sense. So it is 
also in Mark xiii. 6, ' Many shall come in my name, saying, 
' I am he.'' The verse under notice is part of a passage in 
which Jesus is vindicating his Messianic character (John 
viii. 52, 59) against persons who disbelieved and opposed ; 
and he affirms in the strongest language that he existed and 
was the Messiah appointed in the divine counsels, even 
before Abraham was born — 'Before Abraham was, 'I am//^.' 
A different side of the same thought is expressed in the 
prayer, in John xvii. 5, ' the glory which I had with thee 
before the world was.' The Logos in Jesus, as before stated 
(§ § S, 9), which was now speaking in him, and which was in 
the beginning with God, could evidently sa)-, ' Before 
Abraham was, I am he''^ The phrase thus rests upon the 
primary conception of the Gospel. 

The explanation of the words under notice by a reference 
to Exod. iii. 14, is wholly fallacious. Here we read in 
the English Bible, ' I am what I am,' and ' I am hath sent 
me unto you.' But, in reality, the words in the Hebrew are 
in the Future tense, 'I will be'; and there is no reason in 
the nature of the case, why they should be otherwise 
rendered, whatever the intended meaning may be. f They 
were thus understood by the ancient Jewish-Greek translators 

* There may be an allusion to the same idea of pre-existenee in 
John vi. 38, 62. The words of John iii. 13, " the Son of man which is in 
heaven," may be a parenthetical addition of the Evangelist, as in iv. 2, 
8, and various similar cases. But 'which is in heaven' is omitted by 
many ancient authorities. 

+ It may be the future faithfulness of Jehovah to his promise of 
deliverance (Exod. iii., 12); or his future presence with his people 
for their protection. 



26 ACTS XX. 28. 

Aquila and Theodotian, who are both of them remarkable 
for the Hteral character of their renderings. The Oriental 
versions naturally follow the Hebrew tense form, while 
AVestern translators, with some notable exceptions (Luther) 
have mostly followed the Septuagint and the Vulgate, neither 
of which is any conclusive authority on the rendering of 
Hebrew tenses. Thus the explanation of the words of John 
viii. 58, to the effect that Christ intended to refer to the 
' I am ' of Exodus is inadmissible. It follows that he is 
not here represented by the Evangelist as arrogating to him- 
self the title of the self-existent Jehovah. The wonder is 
that such an understanding of his words should have found 
favour with any careful expositor. 

^ II. Acts XX. 28: 'The Church of God, which he 
purchased with his own blood.' — The margin informs us 
that 'many ancient authorities read tJie Lord' instead of 
'God.' The two most ancient manuscripts read 'God'; 
but others of importance, including the Alexandrine, have 
Lord. 

As in the case of John i. 18, it is probable that both 
forms existed in the manuscripts of the fourth century, and 
that the copiers felt themselves at liberty to follow either. 
The ' blood ' of ' God ' is an expression which was no doubt 
acceptable, if not conceivable, to some early Church Fathers, 
and it is in evident harmony with the theology of the Nicene 
Creed. It is more than probable that the higher feeling 
of the nineteenth century will increasingly revolt against 
it. If, too, it should appear, as we shall see it does, that St. 
Paul in his extant Epistles has nowhere spoken of Jesus as 
' (iod,' even in the subordinate or Logos sense, it is alto- 
gether unlikely that he should have done so in his speech in 
Acts XX. to the elders at Ephesus. The reading accepted 
by the revisers may therefore be dismissed as a mere product 
of the same period of prolific theological growth and transi- 



FAITH IN HIS BLOOD. 27 

tion to whicli we owe various other corruptions of the 
Christian books — a conclusion which should surely be a 
reUef to the reverent feeling of all thoughtful Christian 
persons. Any doubt there may be as to the text has been 
settled by the revisers in accordance, no doubt, with the 
critical evidence. But that the question of reading is by no 
means certain, may be seen by the fact that Lachmann, 
Tregelles, and Tischendorf, the most eminent of modern 
editors of the (ireek Testament, preferred the reading 
' Lord.' It was natural perhaps, that the revisers should 
decline to follow them, seeing that there is really a good 
shew of evidence for the text they have adopted. But, as 
before said, if the general analogy of the Pauline Epistles 
had been properly attended to, the received reading could 
not have been followed. 

^12. Rom. iii. 25: 'Jesus Christ, whom God set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith, by his blood.' The change 
here, from the Authorised ' faith in his blood,' is consider- 
able, but the margin retains the old rendering. A great 
objection to the latter is that the expression is unparalleled 
in the New Testament. It is without sanction, both in 
substance and in form. The distinctive ' faith ' of the New 
Testament is faith in Jesus as the Christ, faith that he was. 
the Christ, as will be found in numerous instances.* 

The rendering ' by his blood ' affords a sense which is- 
natural and suitable to the context. The words no doubt 
mean by his death, and they belong to the verb ' set forth ;' 
— ' Jesus Christ, whom God set forth by his death to be a 
propitiation,' ' through faith ' to those who believe in him 
and receive him as the Messiah. This statement of the 
Apostle should be interpreted, not from modern beliefs or 
theories, but from a due consideration of the similar 



* Such as John xi. 27. xx. 31 ; Acts ix. 20; I John v. I, 5. 



25 THE DEATH OK CHRIST. 

language used elsewhere by Paul, from the known sentiments 
of the Jews towards the Gentile world, and the controversies 
to which these gave rise. 

Jesus the Christ was a Jew, 'born under the law;' as such 
he could not be the Messiah to 'sinners of the dentiles.' 
This was a first princijjle with a Jew."^ But God allowed his 
beloved Son, the Messiah, to put away his Jewish character 
and limitations. This he did by dying ; for ' the law hath 
dominion over a man so long as he liveth ' — not when he is 
dead. Christ then, as now become a spiritual being, could 
only be approached 'through faith.' The Jews again were 
' under sin ' as well as the Gentile race ; and by their sins 
they were unfitted for the Messiah's kingdom. But his 
death removing him from the dominion of the law gave 
them a new access to him by faith. Thus Christ was ' set 
forth by his blood ' for Jew and Crcntile alike. He died for 
all ; for the sins of all ; and his death might be spoken of 
(perhaps only figuratively) as a sacrifice for sin, ' a propitia- 
tion.'! This with its result of 'salvation' to all, was not 
gained by any right of obedience, or of ' works,' but only 
by the free gift (grace) of God. Ephes. ii. 4, 5. 

The mind of the great Apostle was familiar with ideas 
derived from the sacrificial system of his people, and he natu- 
rally uses language and figures framed upon those ideas. 
With Paul the death of Christ was necessary to make him 
cease to be a Hebrew, to make him spiritual, and Lord of a 
spiritual kingdom, open to all men. Paul therefore could 
speak of that death as undergone for a redeeming purpose, 
in other words as a sacrifice, and propitiation 'for sin,' 
because it was the sins of the world, the sins of ' all,' that 
unfitted them for the kingdom of God. I'hus the Christ 
died for 'all,' and all who had faith in him, becoming 



* Compare Matt. xv. 24, 25. 

t The same (Greek) word is used for the ' mercy scat,' Heb. ix. 5 — 
as often in the Septuagint. 



SACRIFICIAL EXPRESSIONS. 29 

disciples, were in this sense redeemed by his ' precious 
.blood' 

Still, however, it may be a question how far Paul's language 
•on this subject is wholly figurative ; whether he did not, in 
fact, attach a true expiatory character to the death. If he 
-did so, we should certainly have an easy and natural explana- 
tion of many expressions both of the Pauline Epistles and of 
other portions of the New Testament. Perhaps too the sup- 
position is necessary, in order to account for the remarkable 
unanimity with which many different New Testament 
writers express themselves on the subject. Why, they would 
reflect, should God have permitted the well-beloved Son, the 
Messiah, to die ? It could only have been for some reason 
of surpassing importance, and this may well have been 
found in the expiation of the sins of the world, by virtue of 
that dread sacrifice. If, to a Jewish mind of that day, there 
■could be no remission ' without shedding of blood,' here was 
•the sacrifice graciously provided by the Divine love itself 

Those who think that such an interpretation of the 
language is demanded by the case, will of course accept it. 
Those who think that such a view of Christ's death is per- 
manently binding as a part of the Christian teaching will 
frame their thoughts of Christianity in accordance with it. 
But will it not be much simpler and more rational to con- 
■sider the whole as rather the temporary and accidental form 
which the Gospel necessarily assumed, under the controlling 
influence of the circumstances and ideas amidst which it 
.grew up into power ? In this case, it seems unnecessary to 
let ancient beliefs about sacrifice and expiation control or 
supplant those higher conceptions of the spirituality and 
love of God which have come to us partly as the result of 
the teaching of Christ himself, partly as the natural develop- 
ment of religious ideas among cultivated and thoughtful 
men — to say nothing of the wondrous revelation of the 
Divine character and power given to us in these latter 

c 



30 ATONEMENT — RECONCILIATION. 

days by the discoveries of Science. And this too, let us not 
forget, is of God's doing ! 

At all events the change of rendering now before us goes 
far to destroy the old idea that ' faith in the blood,' or in the 
efficacy of the ' blood ' was here meant by the Apostle. It 
leaves us with the more reasonable thought of that event as 
simply the mediiini by which Christ was ' set forth to he a 
propitiation,' whether this expression be used in the literal 
or in the fio;urative sense. 



8 13- R( 


)m. V. II. 


Authorised. 


Rfatsed. 


. . . ' by whom we have 


. . , ' by whom A\e have now 


now received the atonement." 


received llie reconciliation.' 



Ephes. iv. 32. 
. . . ' even as God for I . . , ' even as God also in 
Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' | Christ forgave you.' 

In the former of these passages 'reconciliation' having 
taken the place of ' atonement,' this familiar word is no 
longer to be found in the New Testament. Very probably 
it was used by the translators of 161 1 in its older sense of 
Reconciliation, so that there is no real change of meaning, 
but only the removal of a term liable to be misunderstood, 
and the substitution of a new one of more definite signifi- 
cation. 

The reconciliation of man to Ciod by faith and penitence 
is, no doubt, what the Apostle means — not the reconcilia- 
tion of God by the appeasing of His anger. Hence again 
the addition in a preceding verse (Rom. v. 9) as made by 
the Revision is at least doubtful in this context. The words 
' of God ' are inserted in italics, and the Apostle is made to 
speak of men being 'saved from the wrath of God' through 
Christ. But this is inconsistent with the emphatic declara 
tion of other passages, which ascribe the whole scheme of 



FOR CHRISrS SAKE. 3I 

redemption to the Divine Love— as in Eplies. ii. 4. The 
wrath intended is probably that of thie law : ' for the law 
worketh wrath,' as expressed in Rom. iv. 15. The law 
convicts of sin, and cannot forgive, but must exact the 
penalty. But the love of God in Christ, says the Apostle, 
annulled these consequences of transgression. Christ 
indeed, might be said to have borne the penalty in his own 
body on the tree— for so the ' curse of the law ' fell upon 
him. The main fact is otherwise expressed in the second of 
the two above cited passages, . . . . ' forgiving one another, 
even as God also in Christ forgave you.' This stands 
instead of the Authorised ' for Christ's sake,' and the 
meaning is ' by Christ,' the ' in," here as so often else- 
where, having its instrumental force. Thus the common 
l)hrase of the popular theology, ' for Christ's sake ' has now, 
like the word 'atonement,' disappeared from the New 
Testament. It occurs 'in no other place, and God will 
nowhere be found spoken of as doing any thing 'for 
Christ's sake,' but only 'through' him and 'by him,' as 
the immediate agent. Indeed, we may well understand, the 
Almighty Father acts always from his own perfect goodness 
and justice, alone. 

Thus the doctrine of Atonement, at least in its older and 
grosser forms, widely accepted as it has been and still is, 
must in time itself disappear from Christian theology, along 
with the phrases in which it has so long been supposed to 
find expression. It is a sufficiently curious result of the 
Revision, that three such expressions as ' faith in his blood,' 
'atonement,' 'for Christ's sake,' should have been obliterated 
from the Pauline vrritings, so far as the revised text is con- 
cerned.* Their removal, we may well believe, can be only 
favourable to the diffusion of ideas of the Divine love and 



* It should be noted that the expression ' merits of Christ ' is 
equally unkno^^-n to the X. T. 

C 2 



32 DIFFERENT MODES OF PUNCTUATION 

mercy higher and better than have yet prevailed among tlie 
great multitudes of English speaking Christians. 

§ 14. Rom. ix. 5: 'Whose are the fathers and of whom 
is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God ble.ssed 
for ever.' In the Greek the article stands before Christ, 
* the Christ,' and ought not to have been here omitted in 
the English. The slight change made by the revisers in the 
text, though only affecting the order of the words, is not 
without its significance. The introduction of the words ' as 
concerning the flesh ' between ' Christ,' and the latter part 
of the verse will prepare the reader to see that the punctua- 
tion of the margin has on its face a certain amount of pro- 
bability. The revisers have not gone further than this 
disturbance of the verbal order. But they have given a 
margin which, for the first time in a volume destined to be 
so widely read, gives notice that the ordinary or orthodox 
interpretation of this verse is not a certain one. The same 
thing has been fully acknowledged, or, indeed, the altered 
interpretation has been adopted and defended by Mr. Beet 
(a learned and much esteemed Wesleyan commentator) in 
his recent work on the Epistle to the Romans. The mar- 
ginal note of the revisers runs thus: 'Some modern 
interpreters place a full stop 2S.\.^x fleshy and translate He who 
is God over all be (is) blessed for ever ; or He who is over all 
is God^ blessed for ever. Others punctuate, flesJi^ who is over 
all. God be (is) blessed for ever.'' ^ Thus three different 
modes of punctuation are admissible, the ancient manu- 
scripts being themselves mostly without stops, and having 
the words written close together without space between. 
We need not dwell upon the different meanings which result 
from these different modes of punctuation. But it is neces- 
sary to point out two or three facts which the reader will 



Thus, in the new Greek text of Messrs. Westcott and Hort. 1881. 



IX ROM. IX. 5. 33 

scarcely suspect from the marginal statement of the revisers. 
' Soine modern interpreters place a full stop after flesh.' Will 
it surprise the reader to be informed that nearly all recent 
interpreters of importance do this? The exceptions are 
only a few of what may be termed the English school of 
theology, and these not by any means of the highest autho- 
rity, even in their own class. It is well known that the two 
eminent Greek Professors of Oxford and Cambridge respec- 
tively adopt this punctuation — Professors Jowett and 
Kennedy. Of recent English writers who do the same 
may be mentioned Mr. Beet, as before stated; "^ and Dr. S. 
Davidson, in his translation of the New Testament from 
Tischendorfs text. Dr. Sanday, and Canon Farrar, though 
preferring the Authorised punctuation, fully allow that the 
other is grammatically admissible {Expositor^ vol. ix. x.). 
The American revisers accept a margin, but recommend 
the substitution of a simpler, as well as more just and 
accurate form. Going beyond the school of English autho- 
rities we come at once to a host of scholars of the highest 
reputation — there are none higher — who adopt and defend 
one or other of the renderings which the revisers consign 
to the margin. Among the latter may be enumerated such 
men as Lachmann, Tischendorf, Winer, Fritzsche, Meyer, 



* Mr. Beet obsen-es: — ' This exposition [with the new punctuation] 
is not found in any of the Fathers ; but is adopted by Erasmus and by 
Winer, Fritzsche, and Meyer, who are by all admitted to be almost 
unequalled as N. T. grammarians. It is given in the critical editions 
of Lachmann and Tischendorf. Attention has also been called in the 
Expositor [1880, vol. ix. x] . . . . to the fact that in the Vatican, 
Alexandrian, Ephraim and Claromontane MSS., there are stops mark- 
ing off the words in question as a doxology to the Father ; and, in the 
last three, spaces which prove clearly that the stop is from the first 
hand. That the Alex. MS. has the stop from its original scribe, every 
one can now see for himself in the lately published photograph. The 
rarity of stops in all these MSS. gives importance to this fact.' Com. 
mentary on Rommis, 2nd edition, 1881, p. 268. 



34 ruxcTUAJiON or rom. ix. 5. 

Ewald, De Wette, and many more. But this is not tlie 
whole case. 'Some modern interpreters;' but there are 
ancient authorities, too, wliich justify the same punctua- 
tion. The fact, whatever it may be worth as evidence 
of interpretation, is this, that three out of the four 
most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament have 
a stop ' after flesh. ' These, as now well known, are 
the Vatican manuscript (fourth century), the Alexandrine 
(fifth), the Codex Ephraim (fifth or sixth),* and there are 
several others of minor importance. It is not by accident 
that the stop occurs in these documents, although it cannot 
be taken as actually proving that the scribe who in the 
fourth or fifth century copied these ancient manuscripts in- 
terpreted the words marked off by the stop as a doxology. 
He may in each case have referred them to Christ ; but how 
can this be shewn ? Surely the probability is the other way. 
Even of the Fathers who apply the words to Christ, some of 
them let us see that they do so in a certain subordinate sense. 
Christ was ' Cod over all,' because, they tell us, the Father 
had delivered all things into his hand ; in much the same 
way as Moses is said to have been ' Cod,' to Pharaoh, and 
Aaron his brother to have been his prophet (Exod. vii. i). 

Objection may be made to the word be as tiie verb rec[uired 
to complete the sense. Many prefer ' is,'t but this point is 
of secondary importance ; the main fact is that there is a 
greatly pre|)ondcrating weight of evidence and testimony for 
tlie new punctuation. This it is too clear, and much to be 

* These three !MSS. Mere recently examined by the writer with 
a particular view to the punctuation of this verse. In the Alexandrine 
MS. the stop is unquestionably a prima inanu. In the Ephraim, there 
is a space, of course from the lirst hand. In the Vatican, the originality 
of the stop may be doubtful. 

+ Professor Keimedy {Occasional Sermons, Appendix Ill.'i, prefers 
the rendering, ' He who is over all is God, blessed for ever.' Compare 
Rom. i. 25 ; 2 Cur. xi. 31. 



IN THH FORM OF GOD. 35 

regretted, tlie revisers have failed to indieate in their 

marginal note, leaving indeed a contrary imi^ression upon 
the readers mind.* 



§ 15. Philip, ii. 5-7: 'Jesus Christ; who, being in the 
form of Ciod, counted it not a prize to be on an equality 
with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,' 
<kc. — The new translation certainly introduces something of 
meaning into an obscure and difficult passage. Yet the 
rendering is less clear and apposite to the context than it 
might have been. The term 'prize' is hardly a just render- 
ing of the original, and it is difficult to see the propriety of 
the word in such a place. The marginal note, ' Cir. a tiling 
to be grasped ' nearly gives the real sense, and inasmuch as 
this is admitted to be the Greek, why was it not received into 
the text ? Adopting it, we may read, ' who, being in the 
form of God counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on 
.an equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form 
of a servant,' cS:c. — more literally perhaps, 'counted not the 
being equal with (iod a thing to be seized,' (or grasped at.) 
But the mere translation of the words does not determine 
■their interpretation. This must be sought sim}jly in the 
feelings and circumstances of the time to which the writer of 
the words belonged, so far as these are known to us, and in 
the similar ideas elsewhere expressed by the same writer, f 

To St. Paul, Jesus of Nazareth was the long expected 
Messiah, a personage of surpassing importance to mankind, 
who had indeed lived for a time upon tiie earth in the 
lowliest guise and had been subjected even to ignominy and 
death, in order to fulfil the Divine purposes concerning him. 



* See appendix, note A. 

+ According to the exei^^etical rule corapendiou<Iy laid down l)y a 
great authority :—' Interpret gi-ammatically, historically, contextually, 
^nd minutely.' Bishop EUicott, in Aids to FaitJi. 



36 MEANING OF PHILIP. II. 6. 

Nevertheless, he would shortly return to the earth in power 

and glory, to judge the world and to take back with him to 

heaven his faithful followers. Such was Paul's belief and 

expectation, as seen in many places in his writings. — (See 

I Thess. iv. 13^18; 2 Thess. i. 6 — 10; compare James v. 

7, 8, with numerous passing allusions in other books, as 

I Cor. i. 7, 8, vii. 29, xv. 23, 51, 52 ; Philip ii. 20; 2 Pet. 

iii. 10 — 13.) Various expressions to the same effect occur 

in the first three Gospels, while all are illustrated by the 

entire strain and tenour of the book of Revelation. Paul 

constantly reminds us that it was the Divine love and mercy 

which permitted the beloved Son, the Messiah, to pass 

through a period of humiliation and suffering, for the sake 

of sinful men. God in his mercy to man gave up his Son 

to suffer and die, as the Son also himself willingly obeyed 

the Father's behest. In the first instance, Christ came to 

call the world to repentance, that all who received or should 

receive him with the faith of discipleship might be ' saved ' 

in the approaching ' day of the Lord.' Hence therefore 

the Christ, great Prince and potentate thougli he was, and, 

by his position and his rights as the divinely protected and 

beloved Son, far exalted above every earthly thing, yet for a 

time had put aside this rightful greatness ; ' though he was 

rich yet for your sakes he became poor' (2 Cor. viii. 9) and 

submitted 'even to the death of the cross.' 

The exposition of the passage which may thus be drawn 
very directly from a due consideration of historical circum- 
stances and ideas shows us that what the Apostle is alluding 
to is not any pre-existent state of 'Eternal Godhead,' or 
prerogatives of Divine Majesty,"^ These cannot surely be 
conceived of as laid aside or abandoned by the Infinite. 
These, therefore, it could not be, but simply the dignities. 



* As held, for example, by Bishop Lightfoot, in his Commentary 
on the Epistle to the Philippians, 



THE POPULAR INTERPRETATION. 37 

and rights appertaining to the Messianic office. These Jesus 
did not count as ' a thing to be seized,' so as to be ' on an 
equality with God ' upon the earth, — although, to the belief 
of his followers, he might have been so, and should here- 
after be so, at his second coming. But he divested himself 
of these his Messianic attributes, and was humble and 
obedient 'even unto death.' 'Wherefore,' the Apostle adds, 
Clod hath highly exalted him and given him a name above 
every other ; that ' in ' his name (not at his name— a mis- 
translation which the revisers have corrected), that in his 
name every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that 
he is Lord, 'to the glory of God the Father.' 

The popular interpretation of this passage clearly makes 
two divine beings, each of whom is God ; one of whom is 
for a time humbled and obedient, while the other has 
undergone no change, but on the contrary exalts and 
glorifies his fellow God, as a reward for his submission. So 
gross a conception as this should not be imputed to the 
Apostle Paul, and is altogether inadmissible and uncalled 
for, when the nature of the case and the ideas of the time 
respecting the Messiah are duly considered. Without 
taking note of such considerations, no just interpretation ot 
this or any other difficult passage can be reasonably 
expected. Interpretations founded upon modern systems of 
theology may be comparatively easy and acceptable, in 
other respects; but surely a proper regard for truth requires 
something more than this, and dictates thought and care and 
an earnest effort to attain the original sense, and that alone. 

The margin of the text before us mentions that the 
Greek word rendered 'being' may mean 'being originally.' 
No doubt it has sometimes this meaning, or one very near to 
it. But many instances occur in the New Testament, in 
which it simply means 'being' and can mean nothing more 
— for example, Rom. iv. 19, 'he being about a hundred 
years old.' In the present case the sense may be, being 



38 MEANING OF PHILir. II. 6. 

[jroperly, or in realit)-, in spite of outward appearances — 
being by virtue of his Messianic office. This expresses 
something of the alleged shade of meaning, though not 
precisely the same. Ikit ' being ' alone is all that is needed, 
or can be reasonably claimed. ' In the form of God ' is a 
difficult phrase, found nowhere else. It might be rendered 
' in the form of a god,'* the allusion being to the dignity 
and power belonging of right to the Messiah, which would 
have made him like a god on the earth. The i)hrase is 
evidently antithetic to the words ' form of a servant,' and 
' likeness of men,' and these latter suggest the meaning of 
the former. They cannot therefore denote essential nature, 
but only outward condition. Naturally, by the dignity of 
his office, the Messiah was, and might have been, even as a 
god, 'in the form of a god;' but he did not grasp at this 
as something to be desired. He passed it all by, abandoned 
these natural rights of his Messianic office, and thus gave 
an exam])le of humility and self-forgetfulness to which the 
Apostle could appeal, and which he earnestly calls upon the 
Philippians to consider and to imitate (verse 4). The turn 
which the popular theology gives to the passage in supposing 
it to mean that God, incarnate in Jesus, came down 
from heaven, and laid his divine majesty aside, and humbled 
himself to die, is simply incredible, and almost beyond the 
pale of rational discussion — as much so as the ancient 
Greek story of Apollo and Admetus. The god served the 
mortal in a useful capacity for a specified term, and so 
humbled himself by temporarily resigning his deity. Truly 
it is time that Christian theology should have done with 
such fables! 



* This lower sense of the word ' God ' is met with in the Bible, and 
was perfectly familiar in Paul's time — Acts xvii. 23, i Cor. viii. 8. 



Ill': WHO WAS .mami-lsikd. 



,^ i6, T Tim. iii. 16 : 



Ar IHORISKl). j Kkviski). 

•< God was manifest in the llesli.' ' He wlio M'as nianifesteJ in the 

I flesh.' 

The alteration liere is important. The old reading is pro- 
nounced untenable by the revisers, as it has long been 
known to be by all careful students of tlie New Testament. 
The margin runs, 'The word God., in place of He 7C'ho, 
rests on no sufficient ancient evidence.' It is in truth 
another exami)le of the facility with which ancient copiers 
could introduce the word (iod into their manuscripts — a 
reading which, as we have seen, was itself the natural result 
of the growing tendency in the early Christian times, and 
under the influence of the Logos philosophy, to look upon 
the humble Teacher as the incarnate A\'ord, and therefore, 
in the Logos sense, as 'God manifested in the flesh.' The 
Alexandrine manuscript is the oldest which contains this 
reading, if it be contained in that manuscript. About this, 
however, opinions' differ singularly, the manuscript text 
being in such a condition that it is not possible to decide 
with absolute certainty. The critics differ from one 
another in a way which suggests that their judgment can 
hardly depend on eyesight alone. "^ 

>^ 17. Titus ii. 13: 'our great God and Saviour Jesus 
Christ.' 2 Pet. i. i: 'the righteousness of our God and 
Saviour Jesus Christ.' — These two verses may be considered 
together. They present perhaps the most important instance 
of change contained in the new text — only to be equalled 
by 'God only begotten ' in the margin of John i. 18. In 
both places, the margin fairly gives notice that the old 
translation may after all be correct; and in both places the 
American committee recommend that the new text and its 



* See Dr. Scrivener's very interesting note on the subject in his 
Introduction to X. T. Criticism, 2nd ed., p. 553. 



40 

margin should change places. It is thus clear that the old 
translation in each case has as much authority as the new 
one, and the question might properly be asked, Why then 
did the English revisers alter it ? 

The revised rendering yields indeed the same theological 
doctrine which is supposed to be contained in Rom. ix. 5, 
Acts XX. 28. And moreover, the degree of certainty 
attaching to it is the same, in kind and amount, as that of 
the verses just mentioned — certainly no more, if so much. 
In all the cases, this can afford but little satisfaction to any 
reasonable mind, for it surely forms a wonderfully slight 
basis upon which to build the stupendous conclusion of an 
incarnate Deity. 

The meaning of the words depends grammatically on the 
application of one of the rules respecting the use of the 
Greek article. This tells us that, when the article stands 
before two or more terms united by a conjunction and 
used attributively or as names of office or dignity, such 
terms preceded by the one article denote one and the 
same subject, not two different ones. Thus, Tit. ii. 13 
literally reads, ' glory of the great God and Saviour of us 
Jesus Christ' Here it is alleged the article the binds the 
two following terms together so as to make one subject of 
them. Similarly in 2 Pet. i. i, 'Righteousness of the God 
of us and Saviour Jesus Christ.' In each case, it is alleged, 
the terms God and Saviour, under the one article can only 
denote one subject, even Jesus Christ. This seems all very 
straightforward and very clear. But, if it be so, why then 
did the revisers append the disturbing alternative rendering, 
'Or, of the great God and our Saviour Jestis Christ,^ in the 
one case; in the other, 'Or, our God a7id the Saviour Jesus 
Chrisf? Why were they not satisfied with one correct and 
sufficient rendering, that of their own text ? Simply, because 
this rendering is not ce7'tain; it is no mo7'e certainly correct 
or adequate than the other; nay, when the analogy of the 



AND OF 2 PETER I. I. 4I 

rest of the Pauline and Petrine Epistles is attended to it is 
far less certain, and in truth, as may be shown, it is arbitrary 
and inadmissible ! 

It is well known, and admitted on all hands, that the rule 
above referred to is open to many exceptions, and that it is 
not applied with strictness even in classical Greek. Such 
phrases as the following frequently occur : — " the citizens 
and strangers,' 'the cup-bearer and cook and groom,' 'the 
commanders of the foot soldiers and horsemen ;' "^ — in each 
of which the nouns denote, not one and the sa7ue but 
different subjects, although preceded by the single article. 

It is further to be observed that in the case of proper 
names, or words equivalent to such, it is common enough 
for one article to stand before two or more nouns which do 
nof denote one and the same subject or person — just as we 
might say ' the king and queen,' though it might be better- 
to say 'the king and the queen.' In the New Testament 
we have 'the Scribes and Pharisees,' and there are many 
such cases, like 'the Athenians and Peloponnesians,' at the 
beginning of Thucydides, Book I. 

Now, words like Saviour, Lord, King, of frequent use, o 
well understood, distinctive meaning, and familiar as belong- 
ing to one definite person and no one else, might be used 
without the article, much as any proper name. So with the 
word3a(r/XsL'j, king, as found in classical Greek. And where 
Qzos, God, occurred, denoting, as it always does in the New 
Testament, the one only Divine Being, how could it ever 
occur to a Jewish or Christian reader that this noun was to 
be identified wath the subject of a following noun (w^hether 
Jesus Christ or any other) simply because of the absence of 
the article before the latter ? If such a rule is to be so 
strictly applied, it might be easy to show to a reader under 



* The references are, Plato, Apol. Soc. ix. (ed. Cron.); Herod, iv. "ji; 
Xen. ]\Ie7norabilia vii. 19. 



42 INTERPRETATION OF TIT. II. 17, 

its bondage that God and Satan were one and the same being ! 
For the words o Qeos kx] ^ixQoXos would doubtless be good 
Greek, however objectionable in other respects. 

It follows that the absence of the article in the second 
member of the two verses in question affords no sufficient 
ground for the rendering adopted by the revisers. They 
give it, indeed, as before noticed, only as one of two alter- 
native renderings, so far admitting the doubt which attaches 
to the meaning, or at the least disclosing the fact that a 
minority of the revisers (like the majority of the American 
Committee) considered the marginal alternative an admis- 
sible translation. As good orthodox men it was no doubt 
quite reasonable on the part of the English revisers to prefer 
what seemed to be so clearly in harmony with orthodox 
theology. But faithfulness to the original would have 
equally justified adherence to the Authorised, especially if 
the good principle had been followed of making ' as few 
alterations as possible.' The long descended Authorised 
therefore, being on the ground, ought to have been left 
unchanged, and probably it would have been so left by 
revisers not so strongly under the influence of a foregone 
conclusion. 

To the correctness of this position there is a remarkable 
testimony under the hand and seal of the revisers them- 
selves ! In 2 Thess. i. 12, we have exactly the same form 
of expression as in 2 Pet. i. i. The words and their 
order are all the sauie^ except only that Kt'/j/or, Lord, takes 
the place of (7wT>?p, Saviour. Thus : — (a) 2 Pet. i. i : liter- 
ally, 'the God of us and Saviour Jesus Christ;' {/)) 2 
Thess. i. 12: literally, 'the God of us and Lord Jesus 
Christ.' In {a) the rendering is 'our God and Saviour Jesus 
Christ;' in (/^) it is ' our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.' 
To which of these inconsistent translations of the same form 
of words will the revisers adhere as correct? 

There is one fact which possibly should be allowed to 



AND OF 2 PKTKR I. I. 43 

modify the conclusion above arrived at, as to the translation 
of 2 Pet i. I. The second Epistle called after Peter is 
one of the latest writings of the New Testament. On this 
account it may be that the revised rendering ought to stand. 
In the second century, it is beyond question, Christ came to 
be spoken of as personally God— an easy consequence, 
as before shewn, of the application to him of the Logos 
doctrine. But this remark does not ai)ply to any writer of 
the New Testament so early as Paul — nor indeed to any of 
the New Testament writers, unless it be the fourth Evangelist 
(John XX. 28) and the writer of 2 Peter, if the latter really 
meant what is attributed to him. 

It may be further observed that the revised text of these 
two verses not only contradicts the general tenour of the New 
Testament, in which Qsls is everywhere distinguished from 
JesusChrist,.butthat thisfactis fullyrecognised by such authori- 
ties as Winer, "^ De Wette, Meyer, Davidson, even Alford, with 
many more, — except only that Davidson in 2 Pet. i. i 
follows the new rendering— probably on account of the 
development of doctrine just alluded to. Bishop Ellicott, 
although on exegetical grounds defending the new 
rendering ('Pastoral Epistles,' in loc.) has yet ex})ressly 
guarded himself against too servile a deference to the rule 
of the article above referred to. His words are clear and to 
the point : — ' Lastly, several examples of what is called 
Granville Sharp's rule, or the inference from the presence of 
the article only before the first of two substantives connected 
by xa/, that they both refer to the same person or class 
must be deemed very doubtful. The rule is sound in prin- 
ciple, but in the case of proper names or quasi-proper 
names, cannot safely be pressed.' — Aids to Faith (4th. ed.), 
p. 462.1 

* See Appendix, note B. 
f See Appendix, Note C. 



44 THE THREE HEAVENLY WITNESSES. 

§ 1 8. I John V. 7, 8. 



Revised. 
7. 'And it is the Spirit that 
beareth witness, because the Spirit 
is the truth. 8. For there are 
three who bear witness, the Spirit, 
and the water, and the blood ; and 
the three agree in one.' 



Authorised. 
7. ' For there are three that 
bear record in heaven, the Father, 
the Word, and the Holy Ghost : 
and these three are one. 8. And 
there are three that bear witness 
in earth, the spirit and the water 
and the blood : And these three 
agree in one.' 

The Revision, it will be observed, has achieved the dis- 
tinction of adding a new verse to the Bible — that is to say, 
it has taken the latter part of the Authorised verse 6, and 
made it count as Revised verse 7. To balance this, the 
Authorised verse 7 is quietly dropped out of the text, not a 
word being said about it. Such is the ignominious end of 
this famous verse — the only verse in the Bible in which the 
doctrine of the Trinity was stated, and was no doubt in- 
tended to be stated. It could scarcely have been differently 
treated ; for, as the verse is contained in no Greek manu- 
script whatever worth noticing, there was actually nothing to 
work upon. Faithful revisers, of course, could only revise 
what there was to revise ! But yet they might have shewn a 
little respect for an interpolation so ancient, so wide-spread, 
so much valued, and doubtless, by many, so much regretted ; 
and they might certainly have given their readers some sort 
of notice that it was once there, and is there no more. 
Better, perhaps, as it is — better at least for the popular 
creeds, to let the verse pass quietly into oblivion. Requiescat 
in pace ! and may no ill-judging defender of discarded 
texts attempt to disturb its repose. 

Near the close of the same chapter there stands a remark- 
able expression, which although untouched by the Revision 
is yet deserving of a passing notice. It is i John v. 20 : 
' This is the true God and eternal life,' which a hasty reader 
might suppose to be said of Jesus Christ. But the writer of 
these Epistles sometimes refers to a remoter, instead of a 



I JOHN V. 20. 45 

nearer, antecedent, and no doubt in this instance he means 
by ' this,' not the subject last-named, but ' him that is true,' 
i.e.^ God (verse 19.) There is a similar construction in the 
Second Epistle of John, verse 7. — ' This is the deceiver and the 
anti-christ,' where the pronoun evidently refers, not to Jesus 
Christ, but to the more distant noun, the ' deceivers,' who 
'confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh.' 



CONCLUSION. 

DOCTRINAL RESULTS OF THE REVISION. 

Since the publication of the revised New Testament, it 
has been frequently said that the changes of translation 
which the work contains are of little importance from a 
doctrinal point of view; — in other words, that the great 
doctrines of popular theology remain unaffected, untouched 
by the results of the revision. How far this assertion is 
correct, the careful reader of the foregoing pages will be able 
to judge for himself To the writer any such statement 
appears to be in the most substantial sense contrary to the 
facts of the case, for the following reasons :— 

( 1 ) The only passage in the New Testament which seemed 
like a statement of the doctrine of the Trinity, has been 
removed by the revisers as spurious. See above § 18, and 
compare § 7. 

(2) The sole Deity of the Father has been re-affirmed in a 
remarkable case in which the authorised version had 
singularly misrepresented the original words. 'The only 
(iod ' of John V. 44, affords evidence equally strong and 
clear with that of John xvii. 3, that the writer of this Gospel 
could not have intended to represent Jesus, the Christ, or 
Messiah, or even the Logos in him, as God in the same high 



46 RESULTS OF THE REVISION 

sense of Infinite and Eternal Being in wliieh Hi: is so. 
AVho is 'the Only 'Yruc Ood' The margin of John i. 
18, ' (iod only begotten,' used of the Logos, in no 
way lessens the force of this remark, but serves to strengthen 
it. An ' only begotten (lod,' a ^hrtpos Osis or ' second 
God,' could never have been intended by the Evangelist to 
be represented as t't/iia/ to the Being Avhom he designates as 
'the only Ciod.' Indeed this highest of Names the same 
Evangelist carefully lets us see that Jesus, or the Logos 
speaking in him, disclaimed for himself, making himself 
simply ' Son of God ' (John x. 35) — no doubt here in the 
Logos Messiah sense. 

(3) The character of the baptismal formula is greatly 
altered by the simple substitution of the word 'into' for 'in' 
— shewing us that there could never have been, as people 
have commonly supposed, any ecclesiastical magic in the 
phrase 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost,' seeing that this phrase is not to be found in the 
New Testament at all,* and that the words simply express a 
change of mind, on the part of the convert, from disbelief or 
denial to the profession of the allegiance which constituted 
discipleship. 

(4) One remarkable instance in which the epithet ' God ' 
Avas given to Christ (i Tim. iii. 16) has been excluded from 
the text, and others of similar kind are admitted by the 
Revision to be uncertain. See above, in Acts xx. 28 ; 
Rom. ix. 5; Tit. ii. 13: i Bet. i. i. In both the last 
named texts the apparent sui)port newly extended to 
orthodox theology by the change of translation is virtually 
recalled and nullified by those who offer it; the new 
rendering being shewn to be doubtful, in other words, 
worthless, by the marginal admission, that the change was un- 
called for and purely arbitrary. See above, >^§ 11, 14, 16, 17. 

* It should not be forgotten that this threefold formula is nowhere 
found in use in the N. T. All the baptisms in the Book of Acts are in 
confession of Christ simply — as Acts ii. 38, viii. 16, xix. 5. ■ 



UXFAVOURAllI.;': TO ORlllODOXV. 47 

(5) The only instance in the New Testament in which 
the rehgious worship or adoration of Christ was apparently 
implied, has been altered by tlie Revision : * At the name of 
Jesus every knee shall bow,' is now to be read '/// the name; 
— See above, ^15. Moreover, no alteration of text or of 
translation will be found anywhere to make up for this loss' 
as, indeed, it is well understood that the New Testament 
contains neither precei)t nor example which really sanction 
the religious worship of Jesus Christ."^'' 

(6) The Avord ' Atonement ' disappears from the New 
Testament, and so do the connected phrases, ' faith in his 
blood,' and 'for Christ's sake.' These so commonly used 
expressions are shewn to be misrepresentations of the force of 
the original words, such alterations evidently throwing the 
most serious doubt upon the important popular doctrine of 
which they have hitherto been a main or indispensable support. 

The changes just enumerated are manifestly of great 
importance, and are they not wholly unfavourable to the 
popular theology? Many persons will deny this, but it is 
hard to see on what grounds they do so. Or, if it be true 
that the popular orthodoxy remains unaffected by such 
■changes, the inference is unavoidable that popular ortho- 
doxy must be very indifferent as to the nature of the 
foundation on which it stands. 

But indeed it is easy to see that it is not within the New 
Testament, but in the traditional creeds and other such 
documents, that the theology of the day finds its clearest 
exposition and its true strength. Hence it was hardly to be 
expected that any revision of the New Testament would be 
felt to have done it harm, whatever the light thrown from 

* Some would find such sanction in the ideal description of the 
honour paid to the Lamb in the Book of Revelation, Capp. iv. v. But 
the praises of the Lamb here recorded are evidently not religious 
worship, in the high sense in which it is offered to ' Him that liveth 
for ever and ever;' nor can it be shewn that the author of this book 
intended to recommend the worship of the glorified Jesus to his 
disciples on earth, even supposing that, had he done so, he ought to le 
<obeved ! 



48 DOCTRINAL RESULTS. 

any source upon the interpretation of Scripture. The up- 
holders of orthodox doctrine, Evangelical or Anglican, need 
not therefore be much troubled by the altered aspect which 
the Scriptures may assume in consequence. The idea of 
revising the standards has not yet been seriously entertained. 
Indeed, legally speaking, an angel from heaven, much less 
a Revision Company, could not be allowed to touch an 
Athanasian Creed or a Schedule of doctrines in a chapel 
trust! But is this a position which those who profess to 
value the New Testament as the sole fountain of doctrinal 
truth can feel themselves quite happy to accept? — to be 
bound so unalterably to the ideas of the past, and unable to 
change any thing, lest it should contradict, not the New 
Testament, but the Creed, or the imposed Article, or the 
chapel trust deed, or the Confession of Faith approved of 
old by a Church Assembly or a Conference? 

It is Uttle then to be wondered at, that the doctrinal results 
of the Revision should be either lightly estimated, or alto- 
gether denied. Nevertheless, of one thing we may be sure : 
in the light of advancing science and historical research the 
unlovely dogmatic temper will gradually cease to exist, or be 
ashamed to shew itself. Those in particular whom that 
temper inspires to judge others, and even to proclaim that 
they shall ' perish everlastingly ' because they decline to 
profess what they do not believe — such persons will doubt- 
less become more reticent as time passes, and as knowledge 
and right feeling increase. Meanwhile it is well that some 
few, though but a few, should still utter their protest, as 
occasion requires, against uncharitable assumptions and the 
manifold perversion of the words and the Spirit of Christ- 
This it may long be necessary to do. May those to whom 
it falls to do it discharge their duty faithfully, and so, 
amidst good or evil report, contribute in some humble 
measure to the earlier coming, and the surer establishment 
in the world, of the kingdom of God. 



APPENDIX. 



Note A. — On Rom. ix. 5, the following are Winer's 
remarks in reply to those who argue from the position of 
the word slXoynros (blessed) that the sentence in question 
cannot be a doxolog}', but must be referred to Christ : — ' It 
is natural that in those sentences particularly which have the 
character of exclamations, as in blessings, the predicate 
should stand at the head; .... This remark also 
applies, as a rule, to the doxologies of the O. T., Gen. 
ix. 26, I Sam. xxvi. 25, 2 Sam. xviii. 28, Ps, cvi. (cv.) 48, al. 
But it is only by empirical commentators that this arrange- 
ment can be regarded as unalterably fixed ; for where the 
subject expresses the main idea and especially where it is 
antithetical to another subject, the predicate both may and 
will stand after it: comp. Ps. Ixvii. 20 (LXX). Hence in 
Rom. ix. 5, if the words Im 'ravruv Qeoj slxoyvros x.T.x, are 
referred to God, this collocation of the w^ords is perfectly 
suitable, and indeed necessary.' — Winer, Grammar of N. T. 
Greeks translated by Moulton, pp. 689-90. 

Note B. — Titus ii. 13 : — The following will shew Winers 
judgment on this passage : — ' In Tit. ii. 13, \'ni<^a.nta. t^j Vo^n? 

rov iJiEyaXov 9bqv kou a-urrjpos rtu.ujv ^Iriaov ^ptarov, considerations 

derived from Paul's system of doctrine lead me to believe 
that auTvpos is not a second predicate, co-ordinate with 6boZ, 
— Christ being first called (xiyas Osos and then a-uirr.p. The 
article is omitted before a-urripos because this word is defined 
by the genitive yiiJ.^v, and because the apposition precedes 
the proper name : of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus 



50 APPENDIX. 

Christ. Similar!)- in 2 Pet. i. i, where there is not even a 
pronoun with a-ouTrjpos.'' To this ^^'iner adds a note as 
follows : — ' In the above remarks I had no intention to deny 
that, in point oi gra/n;;iar, a-urrjpos -KfxZv may be regarded as a 
second predicate, jointly dependent on the article roZ ; but 
the dogmatic conviction derived from Paul's writings that 
this Apostle cannot have called Christ f/ie great God induced 
me to shew that there is no grammatical obstacle to our 
taking the clause ica< auTTJpos ■k{ji.mv 'ivs. ^pis. by itself, as referring 
to a second subject.' To this Dr. Moulton, the translator 
and editor of A\'iner\s Cirammar, adds the following words : 
— ' This passage is very carefully examined by Bishop 
Ellicott and Dean Alford /;/ toe, and though these writers 
come to different conclusions (the latter agreeing with 
Winer, the former rendering the words ' of our great God 
and Saviour Jesus Christ'), they are entirely agreed as to 
the admissibility of both renderings in point oi granniiar.'' — 
Winer, N. T. Graniuiar, p. 162, After this it would seem 
that little more need be said on the subject. 

Note C. — A writer in the Gnardicni newspaper (Supple- 
ment, August 24, 18S1), strongly approving of the new 
rendering of Tit. ii. 13 and 2 Pet. i. i, insists upon the 
identity of the two cases with 2 Pet. i. 11, ' the kingdom of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' He observes that the 
sequence of the words is exactly similar, and therefore that 
the rendering should be similar. This is true as to the 
sequence, but there is one fundamental difference which, 
along with other essential considerations, is entirely and 
most strangely left out of sight by the writer referred to. 

The difference meant consists in the occurrence of the 
word God in the two cases under discussion, and of Lord 
simply in 2 Pet. i. 11. The rule respecting the article does 
not hold in cases where the subjects are already well under- 
stood to be distinct. Thus (^iKmitos xx) AXs^av^pos do not 
imply that Philip and Alexander are one and the same per- 



APPENDIX. 51 

son ; so neitlicr docs Osos nx] a-ujrrjp'iriT. "/j^ta-r. ncccssaril)- imply 
that God and Christ are one and the same person, inasmuch 
as they were well known to be two, and are everywhere 
recognised and spoken of as two. The analogy of the 
Pauline writings is strongly against their identification, nor 
can the mere accident of their collocation or sequence 
under one article be reasonably held to establish it. Paul 
even speaks of God as 'the God of our Lord Jesus Christ' 
(Ephes. i. 17); how then is it ])ossible to suppose that he 
really intended to call Christ ' tlie great God,' in Tit. ii. 13 ? 
This is quite as incredible as the disputable and unnecessary 
rendering of Rom. ix. 5, which would make Christ ' God 
over all' It cannot then be denied that Paul in no instance 
really identifies God and Christ, but everywhere, without ex- 
ception, keeps them distinct in his expressions: — 'One Lord, 
one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all ' (Ephes. 
iv. 5, 6); 'To us there is One God, the Father .... and 
one Lord Jesus Christ' (L Cor. viii. .6); 'the God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Ephes. i. 3). 



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